Monday - June 9th, 2014
Concurrent Sessions A

Applying a Corporate Reputation Model to the Higher Education Sector

The higher education sector is just as competitive as the private sector. While corporations fight for customers and market share, colleges and universities in Canada fight for student applications, faculty and donations, reputation and credibility.  The stakeholders which form their reputation range from prospective students and parents to alumni, media, business leaders, politicians, governments, and others. 

This competition and complex environmental landscape has led to an increase in RFPs originating from colleges and universities in the area of reputation research. The higher education sector is maturing and becoming increasingly concerned about reputation, understanding that it is reputation which sets one school apart from another.

With the proliferation of ranking and rating exercises in the media, institutions of higher learning want to move beyond these beauty pageants and into truly understanding their reputation and what drives it.  A model traditionally used for corporate reputation has been refined and adapted for use in the higher-education sector.

Using this new model, the drivers of reputation in the higher education sector have been identified, and of particular interest is that the drivers change significantly from one school to another. These results will be compared against traditional reputation ranking approaches.


Sean Simpson


Vice President, Ipsos Reid Public Affairs

Sean Simpson, Vice President with Ipsos Public Affairs in Toronto, has been with Ipsos Reid seven years, and leads the public-opinion polling specialization in Canada, working in quantitative survey design and analysis. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Political Science from Wilfrid Laurier University where he specialized in Public Opinion Polling.

He has extensive experience in both telephone and online surveys individually, and also with mixed-methodology approaches. Sean’s clients tend to be very strategic in nature, working in stakeholder relations, advocacy, communications, reputation, issues management, public policy, and polling for public release. Sean is a spokesperson for Ipsos in Canada, and manages all of Ipsos Reid’s election polling. He is an active speaker and regularly participates in media discussions, conferences, panels, lectures, and symposia.

When he’s not watching the polls, Sean lives in Kitchener with his wife, Amie, where he is an avid supporter of the arts in his community. He is also a church organist.